DALLAS (AP) — A Texas man was charged Friday with threatening to blow up an Amazon data center in Virginia in an effort to damage the internet and services he believed were used by federal agencies, according to acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah.
Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, of Wichita Falls is charged with attempting to destroy a building with an explosive, Shah said in a statement.
Pendley, is in custody, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice, who did not know if he had an attorney who could speak for him.
In a complaint filed in federal court, FBI special agent John Coyle said a confidential source notified the FBI in January of threatening posts on social media by a user later identified as Pendley.
A second confidential source later in January notified the FBI that Pendley had threatened to blow up Amazon Web Services data centers in Ashburn, Virginia, to “kill off about 70% of the of the internet.”
The second source on Thursday introduced Pendley to an undercover FBI employee in March, saying the agent was an explosives provider.
“In recorded conversations, Mr. Pendley allegedly told the undercover (employee) he planned to attack web servers that he believed provided services to the FBI, CIA, and other federal agencies,” according to Shah’s statement.
Pendley again met with the undercover agent on Thursday in Fort Worth to pick up what he believed to be explosive devices that were inert, according to Shah, and was arrested by FBI agents.
Federal agents also said a search of Pendley’s Facebook account showed that he had boasted about being at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 when Trump supporters stormed the seat of government in an attempt to overturn the election of Joe Biden. The attack left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.
In private messages, federal agents said, Pendley told friends he did not enter the Capitol building but picked up a piece of glass from a broken window. Pendley said he brought a sawed-off AR-style rifle to Washington but left the gun in his car.
The story has been changed to correct the suspect’s last name to Pendley, not Presley.